How to paint furniture
No matter how carefully you treated your furniture, after a while you’ll have to rebuild or repair most of the furniture. Since the purchase of new furniture, especially when it comes to large pieces, is rather expensive – it is worthwhile to consider whether it is worth to renew old furniture that you might have fall in love with. A fresh primer of varnish on scratched tabletop or chair will make these pieces of furniture look like new.
Such minor repairs and modifications can be done by yourself without any special technical knowledge and special tools, which is certainly cheaper than buying a new furniture.
However, if you own a valuable antique furniture, let the professional do the restoration! So, first things first. What do you need to know to properly paint furniture?
Step 1 – preparing the space for painting
As much as it may sound banal, before the commencement of work you will need to select and prepare a space where you’ll be doing the painting of your furniture. If you choose a humid place such as cellar, color will take longer time to dry. In a warm and dry room painting result will be of very much higher quality than in cold and damp environments.
Also, if you select an area to work in which is full of dust and is easily accessible to midges, mosquitoes, flies and other insects, it is very likely that some of them will, while drying, to piggyback on the surface. You must also take care that your room is not to cramped to be able to work freely.
So, set a foundation on which you will paint (cellophane, old canvas, tarp…) to protect the floor. Make sure the room is sufficiently ventilated and that you can easily open a window to ensure enough air. In this way, the drying time will be slightly shorter.
Do not forget to protect yourself! Wear gloves and a face mask is absolutely required, since the paints and varnishes are volatile and thus for are badly affecting to your health.
Step 2 – Preparation of furniture
1. Remove all parts of the furniture that can be removed so the furniture doesn’t get damaged or gets unnecessary paint on it ( metal handles, hinges…). If done so these parts won’t bother you while painting, and at the same time you will not need to clean them afterwords.
2. If the furniture has holes and cracks, time spent on filling them is always a time well spent. Use painter’s putty which can be found on the market in different colors. First you need to clean the crack and then you need to gently apply the painter’s putty using a trowel (putty knife) and make it smooth and allow it to dry. (On the instructions of the product you’ll see a drying time stated; usually the top layer dries in about 20 minutes, and depth layer in about 4 hours.) After drying the surfaces, that were filled with painter’s putty, should be softly brushed with oil or alcohol based paint. If you need to fill a crack in your furniture that is made of plywood, use putty that is oil-based because the plywood is very porous.
3. Before the wood is re-colored surfaces must be cleaned of stains, dirt and dust otherwise the new coat of paint will become grainy and start to exfoliate sooner or later. The dust on the surface can be washed or remove by brush or vacuum cleaner, and hardly accessible corners are cleaned with a brush or pointed object. Furniture is washed with soap powder, washing soda, some conventional detergent or a mild cleaning agent.
4. Remove the old paint coating. Meaning – sandpaper the surface of the furniture. Common mistake made while using “do it yourself” method is the compliance with the instructions on the products that claim that it is not necessary to sand or scrape furniture. However, sandpapering the surface of the furniture is necessary. Be careful to avoid damaging the surface. The purpose of sandpapering the surface of the furniture is to make the surface of the furniture a bit rough so the basic layer of color has something to hold on to. Choose a medium variant of sandpaper, eg. P120 if you want solid performance, and if you want perfection without spot, it will be necessary, after the first sandpapering, to repeat the whole process with finer sandpaper type like P200 ili P240 or even P400 sandpaper.
5. Remove sanding residues with a damp cloth and, if necessary, repeat the process and wait for the furniture to dry.
Step 3 – applying primer coating
Base paint or primer is applied so that base color or varnish would get evenly distributed on wood, but also to prolong its life span. You do not have to pay too much attention while applying base paint. The more important it is to cover all the areas that you plan on painting. Base paint dries very fast, and after drying, you can immediately start painting. However, before painting, and if you want paint to have very good adhesion, you can also sandpaper the surface with finer sandpaper type. Be sure to wipe off the dust with a damp cloth that does not let the hair and allow the surface to dry before painting.
Small note: before you start working, make sure you have a sufficient amount of paint for the base coat, spare brush, brush cleanser, cloth and some overalls or apron. Also, while painting, dip the top of the brush into the paint and drain excess paint. Therefore, take extra care not to overload your brush.
Step 4 – painting
Painting furniture with appropriate paint or varnish, after you have done all the preliminary work, will not be a big problem for you. You must only take into account that you will need, depending on the desired quality of the final product, apply several coats of paint or varnish. One is certainly not enough, two already provide sufficient effect, while real professional applies even to 6 layers. Of course, the process is not difficult, but requires time because each layer must dried for several hours before you can apply the next layer.
Paint or varnish color can be applied using a paintbrush and a roller, depending on what you prefer. Personally I prefer paintbrush. For a perfect result you will need a somewhat higher quality brush which is, of course, more expensive, but it will last for years to come. Painting with bad brush can be recognizable by trace by the traces that remain after drying, and bristles that fall out will end in color to.
When applying varnish start with two to three moves in the direction of the wood fiber and paint one stripe. Without dipping the brush change the direction and apply the varnish slowly through out the surface. Re-dip the brush and in the width of the spacing of the brush paint the next stripe. The tip of the brush may, at the joints, only lightly touch the edge, that way you prevent line occurring at the overlap. Finally paint the entire surface by finishing with vertical strokes. Varnishes colors must dry for several hours. The surfaces should not be touched until the glue effect stops. After each coat the surface should be sandpapered so the next cot applies better to the surface. Dust generated by sanding needs to be cleaned.
Step 5 – Apply a second coat of paint
With clean brush, after a complete drying of paint, you can apply a protective water-based coating in the glow. Coating needs to be applied very lightly taking care not to leave any bubbles behind so the surface stays smooth. Leave to dry at least 72 hours before using.